10 November 2003

Mme. Dewar, one of our Constant Readers, sends this link to the New York Times article When Bad DVDs Happen to Great Films. It's a sobering read, and it contains the annoying news that remastered DVDs of Lawrence of Arabia and The Godfather Trilogy are scheduled for release later this year, after flaws in the picture quality of the much-hyped earlier releases (which, of course, I own) became too glaring to ignore. (Although, of course, you have no business watching Lawrence of Arabia for the first time on DVD, anyway, given its occasional revivals on the big screen.) The article also contains the following observation:
Consider: A DVD stores only 17 gigabytes of data. A two-hour film, transferred to digital data and otherwise untreated, would take up more than 150 gigabytes. So the data must first be massively compressed, mainly by digitally sampling a frame, then sampling only the information that changes in subsequent frames.
It's an interesting statistic, and it only underlines the many reasons why digital projection, still being hyped as the wave of the future, should never, never be allowed to replace traditional projection, at least not entirely. There's just no way that any digital medium can replicate the level of detail possible in old-fashioned movie formats, and the result can only be a decay in picture quality on the big screen. As usual, George Lucas is to blame. How could this pompous shyster be the same man who once owned a dog named Indiana?

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